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Crews Back To Work On Site Of Center City Water Main Break

Crews work on the site of a water main break at 16th and Walnut Streets in Center City. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

Crews work on the site of a water main break at 16th and Walnut Streets in Center City. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

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By Jim Melwert and Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A water main break that closed the 1600 block of Walnut Street, Saturday, is repaired but the street remains closed to traffic, indefinitely. The high-end stores in the area are recovering from the disruption but drivers should expect ongoing delays through Center City.

There’s still a big hole in the street. The wooden planks that covered it overnight are torn off, a pile of stones next to it, as crews begin again to work on the site of the break.

Larry with the Philadelphia Water Department, says they’ve done their repairs, now they have to wait for the other utilities to make sure there’s no damage to their lines.

“PECO, the gas company are going to come out here and secure their utilities. And then we’ll come out and back-fill, but our work is done.”

The 12-inch main broke at 16th and Walnut Street at 4 p.m. on Saturday — a hectic time in the best conditions, especially at Christmas shopping time. Instead of getting a post Army-Navy game boost, retailers closed early.

Alison says it’s odd to see such disorder on the block with Apple, BCBG and American Apparel.

“I haven’t seen anything stopping traffic this much and it doesn’t seem from the honking that the cars like it very much. But, I’m on foot, so it’s not very hard for me to navigate.”

Even foot traffic was stopped when the main first broke Saturday. Robert, at Cole Haan shoes, says business has picked up since, but not all the way.

“Of course it affects business, because cars aren’t here and when people are dissuaded from, just the way it looks, we’re not getting our usual traffic. We’re working with it as much as possible.”